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Mapping Searches – An Ellis & Ellis Explainer

What are Mapping Searches?

At present in Ireland, there are two extant systems (The Registry of Deeds and The Land Registry)dealing with transactions in relation to property. Both now come under the authority of Tailte Éireann (Irish Lands), a state agency with overall responsibility for property registrations, property valuation and national mapping services.

While the precursory Registry of Deeds (Est. 1708), originally offered parties a place ‘…to register and file memorials of deeds or transfers of unregistered land (*) …’, it has been gradually wound down over time in favour of the Land Registry. The Land Registry is now the de facto ‘registration of title’ system, with some 90% of the legal titles in Ireland currently registered therein.

As part of this ‘registration of title’ system, a ‘folio’ title document (offering a state guarantee title to property) along with supplementary maps (or title plans) for each the property are produced by the Land Registry. In turn the Land Registry also maintains original Ordnance Survey and other maps with all registered property delineated thereon.

It is against these registers that mapping searches are conducted.

Why should the purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer conduct a mapping search when investigating title in a property/ right/ interest?

Throughout the title examination process for a purchase of a property, right, or interest, it falls upon the solicitor or conveyancer representing the buyer to authenticate and affirm the particulars of ownership, and other specifics about charges, rights of way, burdens, etc. being conveyed or reassigned on behalf of their client.

Taking into consideration that Tailte Éireann (Irish Lands) deems the Land Registry folios to be ‘…conclusive evidence of title to property and any right, privilege, appurtenance or burden appearing thereon…’, for registered title this reassurance on title can be achieved through the identification, uptake, and inspection of relevant folios.

It is also incumbent that those acting on behalf of the purchaser not only to establish the correct associated folio(s) numbers (if registered title), but also to identify the mapped area(s) claimed to fall within the boundaries of the title(s) described under any found folio numbers.

A secondary but equally important consequence is that, if buyers require a loan from a lending institution, their legal advisor may also be responsible for ensuring the lender receives a clear and marketable title, as part of any undertaking.

In practical terms typically, if not addressed pre- contract, it can be at the ‘first registration’ stage for unregistered title where potential clashes can come to light for the first time. That is, the boundaries of the neighbouring property, which are already on record, might extend into the area that is the subject of this first-time registration application.

Or alternatively, in a most calamitous scenario, the lands latterly transpire to be recorded under different folio numbers than those presented by the vendors, and which could potentially refer to different ownership, rights, burdens, etc.

Lastly, mapping search requests sometimes arise as part of a commercial process where ownership of potential sale lands are sought, so as unsolicited approaches might be made with offers of purchase.

How to request a mapping search?

Typically, a description (address) of the premises, and an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map with the exact area of interest clearly marked is sufficient to proceed. Our staff would then make a visual inspection of the comparative maps, and report on same (†).

What details are recorded on an ‘Mapping Search’ result?

Should a mapping search identify folios references, those details will be returned. Additionally, plan numbers (if present), townlands and information on registered ownership are provide as standard. Any result will also include a marked OS map with the relevant folios (colour coded) presented on the map.

Naturally, for any areas of interest that are not registered, that detail will also be explicitly stated.


* “Unregistered title” is defined by the Registry of Deeds as ‘…property the title to which is not registered or deemed to be registered in the Land Registry under the Registration of Title Act 1964. The existence of deeds in relation to such property should be recorded in the Registry of Deeds…’.

† The Land Registry is legally obligated to use OSi maps as the foundational mapping source for their national database of property boundaries. They accomplish this by linking the recorded property boundaries to the physical features shown on the OSi base map. However, please note that due to the difference in the scale of maps, and the visual inspection only, we cannot guarantee boundaries.

The Land Registry doesn’t determine boundaries, only properties, and doesn’t indicate ownership of specific walls or fences. The Land Registry’s boundary system is non-conclusive, meaning it doesn’t establish who owns the physical structures that define a boundary.

Use a trusted Law Search provider
Given the commercial significance of either not carrying out a Mapping Search at all, or worse, conducting a deficient or defective mapping search; it is imperative that purchasing solicitors/ conveyancers use a dependable law search provider such as Ellis & Ellis.

With our fast and easy-to-use ordering platform at www.ellis.ie , over 130 years of expert know-how, and a terrific after-sales experience, we provide clients with an expert searching service.

For additional peace of mind Ellis & Ellis provide Professional Indemnity Cover of €10 million.

Why not join the 1000’s of users who trust Ellis & Ellis to deliver them a competitive edge?

Did you find the above information to be of interest? Why not check out one of our other Ellis & Ellis explainers for some related searches below; –


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